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A gaming laptop is an excellent choice for people who need to be able to game on-the-go, or those who just don’t want to bother with building their own gaming PC.
However, oftentimes, they can be really pricey, and you may be on the fence about buying one for yourself.
In this article, we’ll explore what gaming laptops are, how much they cost, and whether or not they’re actually worth buying.
What makes a laptop a gaming laptop?
There’s no perfect definition of what a “gaming” laptop is. In fact, there aren’t even any “minimum specs” required for a laptop to qualify as a gaming laptop.
This is because better hardware is constantly being developed, and what may have been considered a gaming laptop in the past may now be considered obsolete!
However, there are some similar factors that most people look for when they talk about buying a gaming laptop.
A good gaming laptop should have:
A discrete graphics processor
While every computer will be built with a CPU that can run usual tasks like surfing the web or editing spreadsheets, computers without a GPU will start to struggle when you use it for more graphics-intensive tasks.
A gaming laptop will come equipped with a powerful discrete GPU, which dramatically improves how a game is rendered and increases the resolution that games can be played at.
Discrete GPUs – unlike integrated GPUs – will have their own dedicated memory, so they won’t need to borrow any resources from the CPU. This means smother games with no stuttering.
Good heat dissipation
When laptops perform heavy tasks, they not only tend to heat up a lot, but they also have a tendency to get really loud. Over time, exposure to high temperatures can damage your computer, making it run slower, or even causing it to stop working altogether.
Gaming laptops are designed with components that not only tolerate heat better, but also dissipate it more efficiently. You shouldn’t feel any discomfort or heat from your gaming laptop when playing high-end games, and its fans should not be loud and distracting. A gaming laptop must have good airflow and cooling capabilities.
A mechanical keyboard
Mechanical keyboards have become all the rage in recent years, and many laptop manufacturers have begun to take this into consideration with their designs. While most laptops will already be designed with ergonomics in mind, gaming laptops will take things a step further.
Oftentimes, the keyboards on gaming laptops will be backlit and give more precise feedback when playing games. For esports participants, this can be a huge factor.
Gaming laptops will come equipped with longer-lasting, more heavy-duty batteries.
There are several reasons for this:
First, the main draw of a gaming laptop is the portability it provides, and gaming laptops need to be able to run for long gaming sessions even when unplugged.
Most computers have different power settings that allow users to choose between battery conservation and better performance – gaming laptops need to be able to provide good performance without quickly draining the battery.
Second, the battery needs to make up for the power-consuming GPU and fan layout, which is essential for keeping the laptop cool.
A beautiful display
The practice of using an external, secondary monitor is quite common in gaming, but gaming laptops also need to be equipped with a high-resolution screen. Most gaming laptops these days will have 4k monitors, and will often be larger than 15 inches, allowing better gaming portability.
Read more: Gaming Desktop vs Gaming Laptop.
How much do gaming laptops cost?
The main difference between a gaming laptop and a regular laptop that you’d use for everyday tasks is quite obvious: gaming laptops can be extremely expensive.
Even the cheapest gaming laptops can cost over $1500, while you can get powerful high-performance work laptops for under $700.
Why are gaming laptops so much more expensive than other laptops?
This really boils down to its components. Because gaming laptops are built with power, reliability, and performance in mind, they will have high-end components like the latest graphics cards, more RAM, and higher-resolution screens.
Gaming laptops will also have a significantly different design aesthetic. Many gaming laptops will come with RGB-backlit keyboards, large vents for better cooling, and multiple fans. The laptop itself will also be built with sturdier material that can help with thermal dissipation.
Moreover, many gaming laptops will be upgradeable as well, allowing you to further spec the laptop to your needs.
Can you play games on laptops not designed for gaming?
The short answer to this question is “yes”. Although not all laptops come equipped with a dedicated discrete GPU, the CPUs on all modern laptops should be able to run simple games.
Everyone has fond memories of playing classic Solitaire and Minesweeper on their old computers, and today’s laptops can certainly do the same thing.
Many game developers have also designed their games to appeal to players who don’t quite own a gaming laptop, but still want to game on the go. As showcased on Gala Bingo, many of today’s online games can be played straight from your web browser.
Both animated titles like Big Banker and live game shows that use augmented reality like Playtech’s Adventures Beyond Wonderland can be played on any device, including mobile phones, tablets, and lower-spec laptops.
However, if you’re looking to play more than browser-based and casual games, you’ll want to get a gaming laptop. Many of today’s Triple-A games will require strong GPUs, and even older gaming laptops may struggle to run them.
The minimum requirements to run Cyberpunk 2077, one of 2020’s largest titles, include 8 GB of RAM, 3 GB of dedicated VRAM, and at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 or AMD Radeon RX 470. These are required to run the game at the lowest setting! Those wanting a better experience will require even better specs!
Is a gaming laptop worth it?
The answer to this really depends on what you plan to use a gaming laptop for. Do you anticipate using it for work and play? Will you be running high-end games, or simply be playing casual games on your browser? Are you running newer games, or replaying classics?
For the former, a gaming laptop will definitely be worth it. You get better performance and can be sure that you can play new games as they come out. If you’re part of the latter, a gaming laptop may not be the best choice for you. Instead, take a look at some of our laptop recommendations to find something better suited to your needs.